As the UK introduces steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, with some easing across the world, the Stay at Home Out of Home (OOH) campaign has less relevance, and frankly, that can’t come soon enough. Whilst it has created some noise in the market, I thought it would be good to add my own story
We went into lockdown on 23rd March and started to prepare and adjust accordingly. However, as we planned our new days, we became aware that many non-essential workers weren’t complying. We saw reports and social feeds showing not all had taken the instruction and understood the importance to stay at home.
That same morning, three junior doctors featured on BBC News. They had come off a late shift, exhausted, with one message “thank you for thanking us, but the greatest help would be to just stay at home”
With that churning in my mind, and wondering what contribution I could make, the idea for a one voice OOH campaign was born. To create an unbranded, simple, and straightforward DOOH campaign, in order to effectively support frontline workers and reinforce much needed public safety notice messaging, which encouraged people to stay home and stay safe. The creative assets needed to be free to all media owners/vendors, adaptable to different screen environments and different screen specifications
My first call was to creative director John Dean at Mullen Lowe, we used to work together some time ago. I explained the ambition and the tone needed, as well as the urgency for statements that could be easily cross borders and cultures.
John, and his colleague Gary Marjoram, were immediately onboard and over the next few days, created a series of eight direct, but witty executions, designed as text only, white-on-black to reflect the important and sombre messaging.
Initially, I put a call out to media owners/vendors on social media, asking them to get involved in broadcasting the campaign through donated space, and four days after the initial concept, the campaign went live.
Soon, word had spread and requests were coming in from across the globe, including Europe, Lebanon to Australia. It continued to gather pace as more operators and vendors got involved, donated space and encouraging others to do so too.
Moved by the initiative, the Digital Signage Federation in the US contacted
me, volunteering to help spread the word out across their region, contacting
all members and hosting the creative files for speedy distribution. AdTech
platforms Hivestack and Blip then also volunteered to work with their partners and
broaden distribution further across the globe.
Although now coming to an end, the campaign has run across the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Columbia, Australia and Lebanon.
Naturally, the greatest challenge was that everyone involved volunteered their time and energy. The campaign relied on donated space from OOH operators and vendors at a time when some screens were being turned off, as OOH bore the brunt of cancelled or deferred advertising campaigns. However, the generosity of the sector, along with their collaboration was absolutely mind blowing.
Whilst this was a non-commercial campaign, born purely to support frontline workers and reinforce their message as a public safety notice. It certainly demonstrates the power of OOH, underlining the creative flexibility of DOOH, using the core technologically capabilities - its immediacy, adaptability and delivery of contextually relevant executions.
But equally as important, it amplified the agility of smaller operations/agencies, such as Diversiffi Media, to make things happen, pull great teams together, bring ideas to life, adding value and strength to a sector dominated by the larger corporates. We should be seen as a complement rather than competition or in a race. Collaboration, as seen here, usually benefits everyone.